Drinking Water Testing for SILVER
Silver levels of drinking-water tested in one USA study (not treated with silver for disinfection) varied between “non-detectable” and .005 ppm. Safe Home offers several kits that provide drinking water testing for silver in city water and well water supplies.

Parameter Type: Drinking Water Testing for Metals

Parameter Name: Silver

What it is and Where it Comes From:

Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, shiny, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. The metal is found in the Earth’s crust in the pure, free elemental form (“native silver”), as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining. Silver has long been valued as a precious metal. Silver metal is used in many bullion coins, sometimes alongside gold: while it is more abundant than gold, it is much less abundant as a native metal. Silver is used as a water bacteriostat in carbon containing water filters. The silver is deposited onto the carbon granules to potentially inhibit the growth of bacteria on the surfaces of these carbon particles. Such filters tend to leach out trace levels of silver into the effluent water. Most people are exposed daily to very low levels of silver mainly in food and drinking water, and less in air. The silver in these sources is at least partially due to naturally occurring silver in water and soil. Silver compounds are also found in groundwater and at hazardous waste sites throughout the United States. Drinking water supplies in the United States have been found to contain silver levels of up to 80 ppb. Surveys show that one-tenth to one-third of samples taken from drinking water supplies (both groundwater and surface water) contain silver at levels greater than 30 ppb. Safe Home offers two platforms of drinking water testing for silver. The first platform in drinking water testing kits for silver is Do-It-Yourself, this allows you to perform testing in the comfort of your own home. The second platform is a Laboratory drinking water testing, allowing you to collect your water sample and ship it directly to our EPA-Certified Laboratory. This platform of drinking water testing for metals will give you an accurate level based on the lowest level of a parameter our instruments can detect (Method Detection Level). Safe Home drinking water testing for silver can be used for city and well water supplies. Drinking water testing should be done any time you notice a significant change in your water quality.

Health Effects:

Animal study suggests that long-term exposure (125 days) to moderately high levels of silver nitrate in drinking water may have a slight effect on the brain because exposed animals were less active than animals drinking water without silver. Another study found that some of the animals that drank water containing moderately high levels of silver for most of their lives (9 months or longer) had hearts that were larger than normal. It is not yet known whether these effects would occur in humans. There have been suggestions in some occupational studies in humans that silver can cause kidney problems; however, more people exposed to silver need to be studied to find out if silver causes these effects. No studies of cancer or birth defects in animals from eating, drinking, or breathing in silver compounds were found. Therefore, it is not known if these effects would occur in humans. One study of animals drinking silver compounds mixed with water for most of their life found no effect on fertility. Another study found that reproductive tissues were damaged in animals after they received injections of silver nitrate.

Solutions to Contaminant Levels:

Silver may be removed from water by reverse osmosis, distillation, and ion exchange. Reverse osmosis can reduce the silver cation concentration by up to 90 percent of the influent water levels. Reverse osmosis is a process that removes foreign contaminants, solid substances, large molecules, and minerals from water by using pressure to push it through specialized membranes. Here’s how reverse osmosis works. Unlike osmosis, which is a passive process, reverse osmosis requires external force (pressure) to work. Pressure is applied to a highly concentrated solute solution, such as salt water, to pass through a membrane to a lower concentrate solution. The membrane allows water to flow through but blocks out larger molecules, like contaminants. The reverse osmosis process leaves higher concentrations of solute on one side and only the solvent, or freshwater, on the other. Distillation can reduce the silver concentration by greater than 98 percent. Distillation is one of the oldest water treatment processes. Water is boiled and the resulting steam is collected and cooled backed to water in a separate chamber. The treated water thus produced is called distilled water that is relatively free of many contaminants. Ion exchange is ions are charged atoms or molecules. When an ionic substance is dissolved in water, its molecules dissociate into cations (positively charged particles) and anions (negatively charged particles). Who do I need to contact to find out more information about water quality in my area? Every community water supplier must provide an annual report to its customers, known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The report provides information on your local drinking water quality, including the water’s source, contaminants found in the water, and how consumers can get involved in protecting drinking water. How often does the local public water system preform drinking water testing? Frequency of drinking water testing depends on the number of people served, the type of water source, and types of contaminants. Certain contaminants are tested more frequently than others, as established by the Safe Drinking Water Act. You can find out about levels of regulated contaminants in your treated water for the previous calendar year in your annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).

MCL’s: 0.10 ppm
MCLG’s: None

File Under:

Drinking Water Testing - Parameter Types


Important Terms

  • MCL’s (Maximum Contaminant Levels) MCL’s are levels that set by the USEPA and are enforceable to Public Water Utilities, requiring additional treatment, when the levels are exceeded. These same guidelines should be at least considered, by owners of private wells. Some states have more strict guidelines than the USEPA. Not all parameters have MCL’s. If the parameter has an MCL, it’s listed.
  • MCLG’s (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals) MCLG’s are goals set by the USEPA that we should all strive for when consuming drinking water from any water supply. Concentrations of certain parameters (even below the MCL’s), are still not healthy for humans and animals to drink. These same guidelines should at least be be considered, by owners of private wells. Some states have more strict guidelines than the USEPA. Not all parameters have MCLG’s. If the parameter has an MCLG, it’s listed.
  • ACTION LEVELS ACTION LEVELS are a specified concentration of a respective parameter in drinking water, that is above a “treatment level” set by the USEPA. When these levels are exceeded, further treatment and monitoring is required by the respective utility who’s water violated this limit.Action Levels apply to parameter-rules such as but not limited to the Copper/Lead Rule.
  • PARTS PER MILLION (ppm) PPM is a scientific measurement which represents milligrams of the parameter being tested per liter of the respective liquid. Example: If Copper in your water supply is at a concentration of 1.00 mg/L, this is the same as saying the concentration is 1.00 ppm.
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